Saturday, April 4, 2015

B³ Pregame Report: Lincoln Stars vs. Sioux Falls Stampede

The Lincoln Stars will play only one game this weekend, and it will take place Saturday night in Sioux Falls, SD against the Stampede.

Puck drops at 7:05pm CST.

If you can't make it to this game, you can follow the boxscore online via Pointstreak, listen to Stars radio announcer Mike Melbye on 93.7 FM "The Ticket," or watch the game live on FASTHockey for a fee.

The Stars are in last place in the USHL western conference with a record of 17-35-5 (39 points).  Lincoln will likely finish the 2014-15 season with the worst record in the USHL, allowing them to pick first in the upcoming USHL entry and futures drafts in May.  Click here to view the current league standings.

The Stars are coming off a couple of midweek games in which they earned two of four points.  I wasn't able to attend the Tuesday game, nor follow the Wednesday contest, so I did not post a recap article.

On Tuesday, Lincoln got a very impressive 5-2 win over the Omaha Lancers at the IceBox.  Despite being outshot 41-25, Lincoln had goals from Grant Jozefek, Luke Jaycox (his first career USHL goal), Waltteri Hopponen, Chris Gambardella, and Biagio Lerario.  Stars goaltender Cam Hackett once again saved the day as he stopped 39 of 41 for the win.

In Cedar Rapids, IA on Wednesday against the Roughriders, the Stars had a 3-1 lead after one period, but it fell apart after that.  The Riders outscored Lincoln 3-0 in the final two periods, while outshooting them 23-7, to complete the comeback and beat the Stars by the score of 4-3.  Biagio Lerario, Jack Badini, and Patrick Polino all scored in the first period for Lincoln.  Cam Hackett 33 of 37 in the loss.  You aren't going to win too many games with only 7 shots on goal through two periods.

Lincoln's opponent on Saturday evening will be the Sioux Falls Stampede, who currently sit in fourth place in the USHL western conference with a record of 31-21-5 (67 points).  The Stampede are 4-1-0 in their last games played, and are 18-7-3 at home this season.

This will be the fourth and final time the Stars and 'Pede will meet in the 2014-15 season.  The Stars are 0-3-0 in the past three meetings and were outscored 13-5 in those three games.

The Stampede have clinched a playoff spot in the west, and will likely be the #4 seed in the west.  This is definitely a team that plays much better at home, as their road record of 13-14-2 is evidence of that.  If the Stampede can steal a road game in the first round of the playoffs, they have a small chance at upsetting the #1 seed in the west.

I'm hoping the Stars will call up '98 protected forwards Dominick Mersch and Ethen Frank in these last 2-3 games to get them some playing time.  Mersch and Frank, the top two '98's on Lincoln's affiliate roster, should be full-time players with the Stars next season.  These two kids should play a BIG role in Lincoln's rebuilding process next season.

Well, folks....only three games left in this season.  The last two games will be next weekend with a home-and-home series against the Omaha Lancers.  This season certainly hasn't gone as well as we hoped, but let's support the players as much as we can in these last three games.  Despite the record, it would be nice to see the boys finish the season strong.

Thanks for reading.  Go Stars.

1 comment:

lincolnfan said...

the Stars overall looked really good Tuesday night, even though they were outshot. it's these kinds of games that leave me perplexed about this team... there is definitely talent there. they struggled a little, but more or less managed to put together a full 60-minute effort and come away with the win. no 2nd period meltdown like we're used to seeing.

I didn't listen to the radio broadcast but followed the box score a little Wednesday night... based on the shots on goal, it sounds like the CR defense and goaltender came out flat and the Stars took advantage of that. it sounds like after they put their other goalie in it was all CR.

3 games left, let's see what we can do. Go Stars.